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‘Fate of the Furious’ tops box office for 3rd week

LOS ANGELES — It has become a familiar story — “The Fate of the Furious” is, once again, the box office champ.

The massively popular eighth episode in the Fast and Furious franchise earned $19.4 million this weekend from 4,077 locations, placing it securely in first place during a sputtering weekend, anticipating the summer season. After winning the domestic box office for three straight weeks, the Universal movie’s U.S. total stands at $192.7 million. Not only that, “Fate’s” global total officially crossed the $1 billion mark, making it the 21st highest grossing movie of all time behind 2006’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.” Its total global sum stands at $1.06 billion.

But while “Fate’s” victory seemed inevitable, the rest of the weekend’s top five reaped intrigue. Pantelion’s “How to be a Latin Lover” slid into second over Tom Hanks and Emma Watson’s not-so-distant future tech-thriller “The Circle.” Led by Mexican star Eugenio Derbez, “Latin Lover” attracted $12 million from only 1,118 targeted locations. The opening weekend’s audience domestically was 89% Hispanic.

In “Latin Lover,” Derbez plays a man named Maximo who made a career seducing older women. When his now 80-year-old wife kicks him out for a younger man, Maximo goes to live with his sister (Salma Hayek) and attempts to remaster his art of seduction. Rob Lowe and Kristen Bell also star in comedic actor Ken Marino’s directorial debut.

Derbez has won over the domestic box office in the past. In 2013’s “Instructions Not Included,” which he directed in addition to starring in, earned $7.8 million in its opening weekend from only 348 theaters. But while back then Derbez may have seemed like a risk to Pantelion — a venture backed by Mexico-based Televisa and Lionsgate — the comic has turned out to be a bit of a sure thing. Derbez’s celebrity was key in promoting “Latin Lover,” including a prank video where he posed as an undercover Regal Cinemas employee that got almost a million views on Facebook. Pantelion will bet on Derbez again in a remake of “Overboard” which begins production in May.

Despite screening in only 420 locations, the South Indian epic “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion” landed in third for the weekend with a hefty sum of $10.5 million. The movie, from Great India Films, is the sequel to “Baahubali: The Beginning” which made $3.6 million when it opened in 236 theaters in 2015. S.S. Rajamouli returned to direct the movie starring Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, and Anushka Shetty.

“Baahubali 2” earned $1.8 million of its domestic total from 45 IMAX screens alone. Five domestic IMAX locations set new three-day weekend records, and the film also set records in India, making it the biggest domestic IMAX opening for a foreign language film.

Not every story from the weekend box office was quite so rosy. Slapped with a rare D+ CinemaScore and a 17% on Rotten Tomatoes, “The Circle” landed $9.3 million from 3,163 theaters, falling short of its double-digit projections. The $18 million movie was acquired by EuropaCorp for an estimated $8 million.

The film hoped to draw audiences by tapping into modern-day anxieties surrounding technology and privacy. In the movie, Hanks plays the CEO of a Silicon Valley social media company. His young employee, played by Watson, finds herself wrapped up in an experiment that tests ethical limits. James Ponsoldt directed the movie and co-wrote the script with Dave Eggers, who wrote the novel on which the movie was based.

Blumhouse’s BH Tilt label released “Sleight” in 565 theaters, and saw a weekend gross of $1.7 million. The film tells the story of a young street magician in Los Angeles (Jacob Latimore) who uses magic and his mind to save his kidnapped sister. Seychelle Gabriel, Dule Hill, Storm Reid, and Sasheer Zamata also star. The label’s marketing and release strategy targeted a young, urban audience — 72% of audiences fell in the 18-34 demo and 45% were African-American.

In its fifth weekend, Fox’s “Boss Baby” held onto the fifth position. The animated film earned an additional $9.1 million from 3,739 locations, raising its domestic total to just shy of $150 million.

Next weekend marks the first summer frame, and should see “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” post huge numbers. The sequel earned over $101 million at the foreign box office in its opening weekend — one ahead of the U.S. When the now-beloved first “Guardians” movie launched as a relatively unknown property in August of 2014, it made $94 million in its opening weekend.

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